Jan 23, 2013
When Paying It Forward Pays Us Back
Many programs we have reported on in Fixes are potentially big budget savers. The Nurse Family Partnership has been shown to reduce child abuse and crime and improve long-term educational outcomes for children and mothers, saving more than it costs. (Researchers estimate that investments in effective early childhood education yield 8-to-1 returns for society.) The model of Housing First for chronically homeless people, employed by the 100,000 Homes Campaign, has been shown to save money, particularly from reduced hospitalizations. The family-based model developed by Youth Villages is effective and considerably less expensive than residential treatment for youths. Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care for severely delinquent youth has been shown to cut criminality and teenage pregnancies. The Washington State Institute for Public Policy calculates expected savings (pdf) from many well-tested social programs. Lawmakers making use of its recommendations have seen the state’s prison population grow far less than the national average.